While most students headed back to their home after their first day of class, the members of the Mount Allison varsity swim team were diving into the pool for their first practice.
The swimming season spans seven months, making it one of the longest sport seasons in the Canadian Inter-University Sport (CIS) Conference.
The team swims roughly 5,000 metres during their daily two-hour practices. With seven in-water practices per week accompanied by three out-of-water training sessions, it is fair to say that the swim team’s training regimen is extremely demanding.
After many intense hours of training, swimmers get the opportunity to shine at their swim meets.
There are five swim meets over the course of the season, six if team members qualify for CISs, with the most important meet being the Atlantic University Sport (AUS) Championships in February.
It is at the AUS Championships where all the grueling hours of training come together for each of the swimmer’s four races.
Allison Loewen, a fourth-year student and two-time CIS-qualifier, described her first time qualifying for the CIS meet.
“I wasn’t expecting it, because it was a race in preliminaries. Honestly, it is probably one of the things I’m most proud of.” The process of setting personal goals and beating them is one of the many aspects that make swimming a thrilling and rewarding sport.
Last year the team had an exceptional season that ended with many strong individual performances at the AUS Championships. The Mounties left the championships with 12 medals, and well over half of the team placed in the top eight for at least one of their individual events.
Both Allison Loewen and Geraint Berger had CIS-qualifying performances last year at the AUS Championship meet. Berger would go on to qualify for the Canadian Olympic Trials at the CIS meet.
This season, the team is feeling hopeful as their first competition, Oct. 15-16 at Acadia, is just around the corner.
The swimmers are gearing up to push their physical capabilities and continue to set new personal best times in the pool.
This year, the team has at least four swimmers who have their sights set on qualifying for CIS at the end of February. Though it is tough to predict how the team will do this year, hopes are high and Head Coach John Peters believes that this year the team will see even better results than last year.
Team captain and Sackville native, Brenna Rothfuss, captured the sentiment of the team.
“I’m happy and excited to be back with the team for what is already building up to be another fulfilling season,” she said. “We have a great group of hardworking and determined swimmers and I can’t wait to cheer them on as they ‘go for gold’ in the pool this season.”